2000-01 Bulletin Entry for:

Peace and Conflict Studies Program


Since the end of World War II, peace and conflict studies (PAX) has emerged as an interdisciplinary area of inquiry drawing on social science, the humanities, the creative arts, and science in efforts to understand reasons for war and possible ways of resolving conflicts without resorting to violence. In the last few years, for many people the primary focus of inquiry is shifting from the Cold War and the nuclear threat to conflict resolution in small and large contexts. Along with the larger goal of ending war altogether, the Brandeis program reflects this tendency.

This is a time to examine the many meanings of "security," to investigate the nature of power and political participation and to develop ideas and ways of addressing conflicts that honor the integrity of all parties involved. This is a time, in other words, to learn alternatives to violence and a time to learn the ways of disarmament and ending of war.

How to Become a Program Member

Students who wish to take peace and conflict studies as a program in addition to their fields of concentration can construct an individually tailored program in consultation with program advisors on the Peace and Conflict Studies Committee.


Gordon Fellman, Chair


Seyom Brown


Steven Burg


Cynthia Cohen

(International Center for Ethics, Justice, and Public Life)

Jyl Lynn Felman

(Women's Studies)

Reuven Kimelman

(Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)

Robert Lange


Richard Parmentier


John Schrecker


Silvan Schweber


Maurice Stein


Andreas Teuber


Dessima Williams


Requirements for the Program

Students are to take six required courses, configured this way:

A. Two core requirements (comprehensive course or project).

1. SOC 119a (War and Possibilities of Peace).

2. Either PAX 92a/b (Internship in Peace and Conflict Studies) or a senior honors thesis.

The internship consists of at least 10 hours a week in a social change organization in the greater Boston area or, if the student is abroad, an appropriate equivalent. The intern is supervised by a PAX professor or staff person, keeps a daily journal, presents and does the reading of a bibliography on the topic of the internship and its larger framework, and writes a paper of 15-20 pages at the end of the internship. The student is expected to meet weekly or biweekly with the supervisor and to e-mail weekly or biweekly if doing the work abroad. Internships are organized around but not limited to those we find through the Hiatt Career Center.

The senior thesis is undertaken in the student's department of concentration, on a topic central to peace and conflict studies. With the department's permission, a member of the PAX Faculty Committee will serve on and represent the PAX Program on the thesis committee.

B. Two or more core electives: At least two courses (and up to four) from this list. Core electives must be taken in at least two different departments.

Core electives include courses that offer critical analyses of violence and non-violence and that consider information, ideas, and examples of productive ways of resisting violence and working toward peace and justice (what in the peace studies field is called "positive peace," as distinct from "negative peace," which is the absence of war but not of conditions that appear to lead to war). These courses offer perspectives on major institutions and possible alternatives, explore some strategies for change, and encourage students to envision and work toward a world based more on positive peace than on negative peace or war.

C. Maximum of two related electives: No more than two courses from this list can count to meet program requirements, and they must be taken in different departments.

These courses relate directly or indirectly to international, domestic, organizational, intergroup, interpersonal, or personal conflict and also include consideration of perspectives that promote understanding, reconciliation, and transformation. They need not focus on violence and non-violence, positive peace or encouraging students to envision positive peace. Students may apply courses from the "core electives" list that they have not taken to fulfill core requirements, to this requirement.

D. Students are urged to take at least one course from a school other than Social Science to fulfill their PAX requirements.

E. Students may petition the PAX Committee for special consideration of courses not listed here that the student wishes to propose as appropriate for her/his PAX program.

Courses of Instruction

PAX 92a and b Internship in Peace and Conflict Studies

Signature of the instructor required.

Usually offered every year.


PAX 110a International Nonviolent Initiatives

[ ss ]

Explores the potential of nonviolent struggle and related efforts to reduce violence worldwide. The sociological mechanisms and ethical outlooks of forms of "nonviolence" are studied, as well as the workings of "people power" on five continents. Usually offered every year.

Mr. Irwin

PAX 186a Introduction to Inter-Communal Coexistence

[ ss ]

Enrollment limited to 15. Required for students selected as Ethics and Coexistence Fellows.

Investigates the emerging field of inter-communal coexistence, partly through case-studies, and by analyzing "coexistence," "tolerance," "reconciliation," and related concepts. Investigates methods of inter-communal work, including encounter, dialogue, activism, and the arts. Considers tensions between coexistence and values of equity and justice. Usually offered every spring term.

Ms. Cohen

Core Requirements

PAX 92a and b Internship in Peace and Conflict Studies

Signature of the instructor required.

Usually offered every year.


SOC 119a War and Possibilities of Peace

[ cl29 cl40 ss ]

Ponders the possibility of a major "paradigm shift" under way from adversarialism and war to mutuality and peace. Examines war culture and peace culture and points in between, with emphases on the role of imagination in social change, growing global interdependence, and political, economic, gender, social class, and social psychological aspects of war and peace. Usually offered every year.

Mr. Fellman

The following courses approved for the program are not all given in any one year and students are advised to consult the Course Schedule for each semester.

Core Elective Courses

LGLS 130a

Conflict Analysis and Intervention

PAX 110a

International Nonviolent Initiatives

PAX 186a

Introduction to Inter-Communal Coexistence

PHIL 19a

Human Rights

POL 127b

Seminar: Managing Ethnic Conflict

POL 161b

Causes and Prevention of War

POL 163a

Seminar: Human Rights and International Relations

SOC 112b

Social Class and Social Change

SOC 153a

Sociology of Empowerment


Women in Culture and Society: A Multidisciplinary Perspective

Related Elective Courses

AAAS 60a

Economics of Third World Hunger

AAAS 80a

Economy and Society in Africa

AAAS 123a

Third World Ideologies

AAAS 124b

The Rupture of Silence: South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission

AAAS 126b

Political Economy of the Third World

AMST 143a

War and the American Imagination

AMST 175a

Violence in American Life

ANTH 139b

Language, Ethnicity, and Nationalism


Human Reproduction, Population Explosion, Global Consequences

BIOL 17b

Conservation Biology


The Planet as an Organism: Gaia Theory and Human Prospect

COML 193a

Topics in New World Studies: The Empire Writes Back

ECON 27b

The Economy of Japan

ECON 33a

Business in the Global Economy

ECON 57a

Environmental Economics

HIST 139b

Fascism East and West

HIST 186b

War in Vietnam

LGLS 120a

Sex Discrimination and the Law

LGLS 124b

Law and Development: International Perspectives

LGLS 125b

International Law, Organizations, and Conflict Resolution


Ethics and the Jewish Political Tradition

NEJS 147b

The Arab-Israeli Conflict

PHIL 20a

Social and Political Philosophy

POL 15a

Introduction to International Relations

POL 140a

Politics of Africa

POL 144a

Latin American Politics I

POL 144b

Latin American Politics II

POL 151b

Seminar: Nationalism and Development

POL 178a

Seminar: International Politics of the Pacific

POL 179a

Seminar: Politics and Hunger

SOC 107a

Global Apartheid and Global Social Movements

SOC 148a

Social Psychology of Consciousness

SOC 157a

The Sociology of the Israeli-Palestinian Confrontation

SOC 161a

Society, State, Power: The Problem of Democracy